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Cryo Letters. 2014 May-Jun;35(3):247-54.

Overwintering of the boreal butterfly Colias palaeno in central Europe.

Author information

1
Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.
2
Buro Geyer und Dolek, Worthsee, Germany.
3
Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia; Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic. nedved@prf.jcu.cz.
4
Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.
5
Department of Life Science and System Biology, University of Turin, Torino, Italy.
6
Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Ceske Budejovice; Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Colias palaeno (Linnaeus, 1761) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) is a butterfly with boreal distribution with declining populations in peat bogs and subalpine habitats in Central Europe.

OBJECTIVE:

We investigated the cold tolerance of overwintering caterpillars from one mountain population from Czech Republic (960m a.s.l.) and one alpine population from Italy (2000m a.s.l.).

METHODS:

We measured supercooling point (SCP), lower lethal temperature (LLT) and content of cryoprotectants.

RESULTS:

The caterpillars were freeze-avoiding, with lower LLT close to their very low SCP (-25 to -27 degree C). The mountain population accumulated high concentrations of glycerol (5% fresh mass) and sugars (trehalose 0.8%, glucose 0.2%), while the Italian alpine population only moderate amounts of glycerol (0.3%) and sugars (trehalose 0.5%, glucose 0.3%) without effect on their cold hardiness. Larvae that overwintered at +5 degree C had a lower body mass than those overwintering in natural conditions, indicating a metabolic weight loss, but both groups survived equally well.

CONCLUSION:

We hypothesize that the high concentration of glycerol contributes to the high desiccation tolerance.

PMID:
24997843
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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